Setting Aside Senator Craig’s Guilty Plea

It’s not going to happen, plain and simple. If it was so easy to set aside a guilty plea, then the Criminal Justice System would shut down. One can’t simply call a “do over” because the crappy consequences of their plea causes them regret.
Senator Larry Craig is claiming that he only pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of “disorderly conduct” because he “panicked.” Furthermore, he argues that he is a not a lawyer and consequently, he didn’t understand the “intricacies of constitutional law.” Craig’s lawyers also allege that the evidence is insufficient to support the guilty plea.

Craig is going to have to prove “manifest injustice” that “shocks the conscience.” That’s just not going to happen. Craig had several weeks to think about what he wanted to do before entering the plea. His acceptance of responsibility was calculated, and not something done under pressure. The record will also reveal that Craig, like most defendants who plead guilty in criminal court, knew that his guilty plea would end his case. He knew there would be no trial, no opportunity to testify, no right to call witnesses etc.

I’ve represented a number of defendants who, unlike Craig, could successfully prove that they didn’t freely, voluntarily and knowingly give up their rights when pleading guilty. The facts of those cases differ greatly with those that Craig has to work with. Bottom line, get used to the outcome Craig. It’s yours to keep.

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